• Vathia and Mani Peninsula, Greece

Mani Peninsula

The Mani Peninsula is where the rustic charm of Greece is most apparent. Forming the southernmost tip of mainland Greece (and of the entire European continent, east of Spain), it really does feel like the end of the road. In the Mani, travelers discover a timeless region of rustic villages and untrampled beaches. Empty, ghostly hill towns cling, barnacle-like, onto distant ridges, still fortified against centuries-old threats. A day's drive around this desolate, rural peninsula offers dramatic mountain scenery and bloody history all tied up in a hardscrabble and evocative package — making hedonism on the Mani coast feel all the more hedonistic. At the end of the day, you can retire to charming Kardamyli.